Man speaks after spending 31 years in prison for crime he didn’t commit

Local News

A man who spent more than 30 years in jail for a crime he did not commit will speak to reporters on Monday.

Last week, Lawrence McKinney was awarded $1 million from the Tennessee Board of Claims.

“It’s been a long fight,” attorney Jack Lowery said. “He finally has a clear record and was awarded the million dollars last week. But he says the award money won’t really change his way of living. He will continue going to church, visiting prisons and retirement homes.”

Lowery continued, “His money – at his insistence went into an annuity. He can draw it for the rest of his life. It’s spread out. It was his decision to do it that way. It was the responsible thing to do, so he’ll have income guaranteed for the rest of his life.”

McKinney was wrongfully convicted of rape and burglary in 1978. He was released from prison in 2009 when DNA results showed he was innocent.

“My strength is in God, you know. He gave me a beautiful wife to stand by my side, gave me a pastor and my church to stand behind me,” McKinney said.

McKinney said he will continue to live his life normally, including going to church, visiting patients at nursing homes and inmates.

“… I know how they feel when you’re shut it,” he said. “It’s a loving thing when somebody comes [to] visit you, and that’s what I do most of the time. I like to go visit nursing homes and pick people’s spirt up and let them know God loves them.”

Attorneys described McKinney as a hero, and his pastor said he’s a man whose faith never wavered.

He was officially exonerated in December.

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